Cricket Diplomacy: India Sends Men’s ‘B Squad’ And Women’s Team To Asian Games In China

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New Delhi, June 24, 2023: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is making preparations to send both the Indian men’s and women’s teams to participate in the T20 cricket contest at the Asian Games. The event is scheduled to take place in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8. According to a report by the Indian Express, the men’s team will consist of a ‘B Squad’ as the main team will be engaged in the 50-over World Cup held in India from October 5 to November 23. Conversely, the first-string women’s team will represent India at the Asian Games. The Indian cricket board has recently announced their intention to provide the list of players to the Indian Olympic Association prior to June 30th.

Although cricket was included in the 2010 and 2014 editions of the Asian Games, India did not participate. In 2018, cricket was excluded in Jakarta, but it is set to make a comeback in China this year. The event was initially planned for the previous year but was postponed due to China’s zero-Covid policy. According to the report, it was stated that during the previous
inclusion of cricket in the Asian Games, the BCCI justified their decision to not send the men’s and women’s teams to the continental event by referring to pre-existing commitments. Bhupender Bajwa, India’s chef de mission for the Asian Games, had stated, “We have entries in all sports except one – cricket (team) isn’t going. They said they are preoccupied. We had exchanged approximately 3-4 emails with them, but when it came time to submit the entries to the organizers, they informed us that they would not participate.

Once again, history is poised to repeat itself as two distinct Indian cricket teams prepare to battle it out on different fronts, a scenario not unfamiliar in the realm of cricket. In 2021, while the senior team led by Virat Kohli was in England for the Patuadi Trophy, the BCCI sent a second-string team to Sri Lanka for a bilateral series consisting of 3 ODIs and as many T20Is. Led by Shikhar Dhawan and coached by Rahul Dravid, the young team won the ODIs 2-1 but lost the T20Is 1-2 after several players were unavailable due to Covid. Even in 1998, one Indian team participated in the Commonwealth Games
held in Kuala Lumpur while another faced Pakistan in the Sahara Cup.